Are you in a secret (or very public) ongoing war with your own body? If you nodded your head, I’m going to tell you – you are not alone, and this episode is for you.
In my twenties I was a talent agent in NYC – working like a maniac, traveling all the time, working out all the time. I always kind of struggled with my weight a little bit, but I was super into doing whatever it took to not have that problem. I didn’t eat well, I smoked cigarettes, and drank a ton of coffee. Of course, that didn’t sustain losing weight, but I really did not treat my body like it was my friend.
Then I was diagnosed with cancer. Having an experience that made me really get dialed into my own mortality – at the age of 31 – caused a massive shift in perspective for me. I started really looking at how I was treating my body. I was under the illusion that I would always be healthy. Those things happen to ‘other people’ until it happened to me. Which became the impetus to totally change my idea of health and my relationship to my body.
So how can you change your relationship to your body? If you are loathing your body and want to be loving your body, I’ll share some things that I learned.
Let’s start with step one: You have to take a mental inventory of what your relationship is to your body. Are you hypercritical? Are you always finding the flaws rather than seeing what’s beautiful and what’s right about your body? Take a mental and emotional inventory of how you relate to your body on a daily basis. So many people will say: “when I lose the 10 pounds (or 50 pounds, five pounds, 12 pounds, whatever it may be for you), I’m going to start dating”. It’s the “I’ll do it when…” mindset.
The second thing I really feel like you have to stop doing if you want to fall in love with your body is, stop using it as an excuse to not live your life. I don’t care what weight you are, you’re perfectly fine to do whatever it is that you’re not doing. All that the ‘I’ll do it when…” mentality does is put more pressure on you. As humans, we always have both fear of failure and fear of success. By putting all this pressure on yourself to lose weight before you go after what you want in your life, you are not only using your weight as a form of procrastination, but you are basically blaming your body for not having or doing what you want.
The third thing that I’ve really realized through my cancer experience was that you’ve got to focus on your health and not the size of your ass. That’s the truth. We live in a time now where the mindset about physical perfection is shifting – thanks to the body positive movement and the self-love/self-acceptance/self-celebration movements focusing on accepting yourself where you are right now – LOVING yourself where you are right now. So it’s a really good time to focus on your health because that’s what creates longevity, right? Not having a size eight or four or six ass. It’s about what is happening within your physical system. So if you’re overweight and that makes you unhealthy, instead of focusing on the fat itself or criticizing yourself, focus on how to shift so that you are HEALTHIER. That would probably mean eating differently or making changes – but not from the point of view of punishment because when we do it from that place of punishment, it never lasts. Who can punish themselves for the rest of their lives? Mental negativity is punishment enough, don’t you think?
The fourth step is to separate out and think about your body as a child that you deeply love. Would you be OK with a four-year old that you adored getting just two hours of sleep per night? Probably not. Would you be OK with a 15-year-old that you loved living on caffeine and nicotine and eating fried foods or living on frozen yogurt? The answer would be no. So if you’re finding it difficult to step up for yourself in the way that I know that you step up for other people that you love in your life – try this reframe technique.
The last thing is to focus on gratitude. Here’s the thing about our bodies, there are so many miracles happening every minute, every second. Your body just keeps pumping your blood through your system, bringing it all the way through and back up to your heart. Your eyes blink. You breathe. You don’t have to think about it – it just happens. Your body is so amazing and you’ve got to really focus on being grateful for all of the things that are right with your body right now.
Find gratitude – and not just gratitude for the superficial things (as important as those may be to you.) It really is more about what a privilege it is… how lucky are we.. that we walk around in these machines that just work on their own and even when we treat them badly, they still keep going.
For me, my experience with cancer was a wake-up call that it’s not free and that negative thoughts, hatred, or being loving towards your body has an impact.
We’re all energy, so when you have this low vibration of anger or hatred for a body part, it has an impact.
Of course, I’m not talking about being in denial, right? I know if over the holidays I gained 10 pounds, to be comfortable I’m going to want to lose those 10 pounds to be at my optimal health. But it’s not the same as beating myself up about it, berating myself, being mean to myself or pushing pause on everything else in my life until I lose those 10 pounds.
If you would like to see the video for this topic you can find it HERE, and if you like it please share it with your friends and family OR anyone who struggles with body love, body positivity or any of those issues – maybe there is a tidbit in here that could help them.
I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about this topic. So please drop me a comment. I hope you guys have an amazing, AMAZING week loving on your body and as always, take care of you.
Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.